Mamiya RB 90mm lens.. unimpressed?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I only have the 90mm non-C lens on the Mamiya RB 67.
    Frankly, I'm unimpressed by it.

    What are your impressions?
    Is the "C" model any different?
     
  2. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Define unimpressed? What were you expecting?
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have gotten an 90C not long ago. I was please with it. I wouldn't give it for the world.

    Jeff
     
  4. Terry Breedlove

    Terry Breedlove Member

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    I have the C model and it gives me gorgeous images. Biggest problem with the RB67 is making sure your tripod is strong enough to carry the weight and to use the double cable release system.
     
  5. Pasto

    Pasto Subscriber

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    It's the worst lens I every used. I was so unimpressed by my RB lenses (50, 90, 180 all C versions) that I sold my whole kit. I may have just stumbled on some poor samples of these lenses. The RB is a great system camera, but my lenses left me looking for sharper and higher contrast options (just my particular taste in things). On the other hand, I've seen some very wonderful images made with the RB. To each his own :smile:. If you prefer really sharp, you'll have to look elsewhere. The RZ lenses, for example, are much sharper generally. I'm not sure if you can use RZ lenses on the RB though.....
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    To Pasto I'm sorry to disagree with you. I think that the RB C lens are great.

    Jeff
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    That's probably why Mamiya didn't make many and hardly anyone used the RB system!!

    I have 50mm and 180mm C lenses and a 90mm KL lens and cannot fault any of them.


    Steve.
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I'll bet your focusing screen was off.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I am just as impressed with its image qualities as I am by any quality optic. I used it quite a bit before I got my own RB camera (an RZ model one), but I never got my own because I like the focal length and the maximum aperture of the RZ 110mm better.

    If I had an RB, I'd probably be more inclined to either go down to a 75 or up to a 127 for my "standard" lens. Strangely enough, while I love a normal lens for 35mm hand held shooting, I don't seem to care for them that much in the larger formats shot on tripods. I generally prefer a standard lens that is either slightly long or slightly wide when using the larger formats. For instance, a 105mm on 6x6, or a 210 or 240 mm on 4x5, or the 55mm on 645.
     
  10. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Perhaps I need to check the focus registration on the camera.. Here is an example, with a cropped section.
     

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  11. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Above image was taken on a heavy tripod. Film is provia 400 iirc.
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    What shutter speed did you use? Did you use mirror lockup? How did you digitize the pix? Have you tried looking at them under a loupe and/or printing them optically?
     
  13. agfarapid

    agfarapid Member

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    Judging from afar, photos look pretty flat. Did you use a lens shade? That cross lighting doesn't flatter the subjects very well either. I have 90 on my RB and mine seems to have more contrast.
     
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  15. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    What are you unimpressed with? Sharpness, contrast? Bokeh?

    Heavy tripod doesn't mean much at all; tripod coupling can be just as important as the actual weight of the tripod. Did you use MLU? Always use MLU on the RB if you can. Even on a heavy tripod, if your coupling is a bit dodgy, you can get some ringing that will not damp out quickly enough. Just now somebody will come on and say MLU doesn't matter, and thankfully I won't see it because he's on my ignore list, for good reasons. Use MLU. Be happy.

    I have the 90 KL and the 127 KL; I prefer the 127. I got the 90 just because I needed that exact field of view. I'd say the 127 KL is a tiny bit better all 'round, but just a bit. Likewise I have the 180 and the 210 KL apo and prefer the latter. But I am not one to do side by side tests, I simply use what I like.

    Oh and yes always use a shade, esp. if you are using pre KL lenses. Just now somebody will jump in with some idiotic comment about modern coatings not mattering, and again I won't see it because he's on my ignore list, but mark my words, use a freaking shade and then we'll talk :wink: If you don't shade, you are simply giving away contrast. Anyway, granted, the rb lens hoods aren't chic, they look like toilet plungers. But they are inexpensive and they collapse nicely. Get one for each lens and be happy.

    So: good tripod coupling. MLU. Shade. Happiness. If not, return the lens, and pick up a 127 KL. Even more happiness.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2010
  16. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    That's very true.
     
  17. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    You are probably shooting off the short side of the film.
    A 35mm frame is 24mm x 36mm.. 24mm * 2 = 48mm
    A 6x6 is 56mm x 56mm.. 56mm *2 = 112mm
    A 4x5 is 96mm x 120mm.. 96 *2 = 194mm

    All your prefered 'normal' focal lengths are about 2x the short side.
     
  18. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    "What shutter speed did you use? Did you use mirror lockup? How did you digitize the pix? Have you tried looking at them under a loupe and/or printing them optically?"

    I was shooting at f5.6, the shutter was on the fast side but I dont remember exactly what. I scanned them on an epson 700. I did not use mirror lockup. They look the same under a loupe.

    "What are you unimpressed with? Sharpness, contrast? Bokeh?"

    I dont know exactly.. I think sharpness.

    "tripod coupling can be just as important "

    The tripod was a bogen 3246 with a 3047 head.

    I allways use a shade on that lens.

    "Judging from afar, photos look pretty flat. Did you use a lens shade? That cross lighting doesn't flatter the subjects very well either. "

    I metered this one for the shadows, so it looks a little over-exposed. Thats why it looks flat. But that doesnt bother me since only shutterbugs will really notice. The light was a little harsh and unflattering.. I really need an assistant to hold a diffusion screen or a fill reflector =].

    *Most replies have been from users who own the C or KL model.

    Could this be close enough to require some close-range-correction? I was only about 4-5 feet away I think.
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yeah I think the 90 C probably should have a floating element. The 90 KL does have one. But that shouldn't affect center sharpness- it's mostly an edge sharpness issue when shooting wide open.

    Since there is no AF :tongue: on the RB, you might think first about your focusing technique and GG and such. Maybe do some tests on a very high contrast subject.

    Definitely use MLU.
     
  20. Pasto

    Pasto Subscriber

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    Jeff, the RB and lens system I refered to was new. I kept it for about 4 years, and made some good images with it. I'll repeat that the RB system is a great one. If you want the sharpest lenses possible (my particular taste) then I would not choose it again. I didn't try the KL variety of lenses, but I do understand they were better performers (re: edge to edge sharpness). I switched to an RZ, and found the lenses signifacantly sharper (to my eyes). My most recent project was shot primarily with an RZ and 110 mm (see my mannequin exhibit at luigipasto.com if you have a minute). I was very happy with it. I do agree that you absolutely need good technique as pointed out by Keithwms, with MLU and a heavy tripod a must. I use a sturdy Manfrotto 058 Triaut tripod. Again, the lens system on the RB is very respectable and can produce wonderful results. It was just not my cup of tea. In the end, any camera and lens combination can do wonderful things if guided thoughtfuly.
     
  21. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    I agree with Keith, MLU makes a huge difference, especially with a less than optimum tripod/camera coupling. I for one have many of the C and non C lenses and have not found them lacking in any way.
     
  22. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I have been wondering if my double cable release for my Canon Auto Bellows would work for my RB67's MLU. So far no success. Though I might be doing something wrong. I would like to use MLU for sharper photographs.
     
  23. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    you don't really need a double cable release, just put the lens in M mode (MLU) and screw a release into the lens. fire the body, wait a few seconds and use the cable release to fire the shutter.


    erie
     
  24. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I don't know why I didn't think of that. Thanks!
     
  25. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    [​IMG]

    personally, I think its a very nice shot. The lower contrast and slightly blown out highlights help give it an "airy" feeling.

    but then again, I like lower contrast :wink:.

    but I will agree its not the sharpest shot overall though. most people who would look at it would see two young girls in a nice photograph, they probably wouldn't see the softness.

    -Dan
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I recently purchased a "well used" RB 90mm C lens to go with the "well used" 50mm C lens that came with the "well used" RB67 body, back and WLF that I purchased earlier this year.

    This set of equipment isn't pretty, and some of the functions are clearly quite worn (e.g. the pop-up magnifier in the WLF is hard to pop up).

    The lenses though seem to resolve incredible amounts of detail, and the contrast is very consistent.